Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Season To…

This is a writing post. Not a photo one. I know- It’s always a little scary. I have known since my 3rd grade teacher pointed it out to me (she was fired. Not for that, but for other reasons), that I am not. I write like I talk and unfortunately large hand motions are hard to convene in a written sentence. Mr Manlove is my resident ‘Did you see these 5 grammatical errors on your blog today?” person. He always gently points it out. And I **sometimes** fix the problem. I figure if it bothers the grammar correctors all that much, they can read someone else’s blog ; ).

This has been a season.

As I get older I see the ebb and flow of life a little more clearly. When I was young I just went along and didn’t notice seasons of life the way I do now.

This season has been a moving-across-the-country one.

An oldest child starting Kindergarten one.

A new job for Mr Manlove with longer hours than we originally expected one.

Also, it has been a season of soul searching for me, Mrs Manlove. A season that does not include my photography business (We felt I could not both serve my family well and also start over with gaining a client base here while Mr worked long days) which I am fine with. But I also know that in a short amount of time our youngest will go to school at least part time and I will need to help support our family financially. For some reason this summer I spent a ridiculous amount of time worrying about this. I fretted over how I would make money as well as doing something fulfilling without going back to school (Mr is finishing his 2nd masters degree & I’m not about to still be paying student debt when we retire). And if I could do something that fulfilled me creatively and that allowed for me to be flexible enough to help in my kiddos classrooms and attend their field trips. On and on I fretted and even got kinda angry. And convinced myself that at 27, I should have what I want to do with my life figured out. On and on….

Then, I started giving it to God daily.

Asking, seeking, knocking.

While I started *patiently** (trying to be patient) waiting on direction and answers, I found that an anxious heart leads to only more anxiety. Then furthermore an anxious spirit spills out onto other areas of life.

Instead, in my waiting, God has taught me times of sitting in peacefulness with Him. He has taught me to think about my gratitude for the life and family that I have and that gratitude, positivity, and a whole lot of grace & mercy will lead me to something fulfilling and provide what our family needs. Because He always has. We’ve never lacked for anything. And the things we used to want aren’t so shiny anymore in our minds. Because we know we sometimes gain weight over too many shared meals (no such thing as too many of those) then our new, pretty shirts are too tight. We also, in our wise old age ; ), know that big houses require big time, money, and work. So we vacillate between loving our small space with little to no maintenance and longing for room to run. Room to run is certainly not a greedy want, but being content with our ‘small’ will make us appreciate if there is ever a ‘bigger.’

This season has included sunshine, sandy toes, salty ocean hair, hikes through lush trails, learning new things (I’ve been cooking- weird, I know. I possibly had a lobotomy one night while sleeping?), a 5 year old eagerly learning to read in about 1 week, with quiet moments having only 1 child during the day who still takes naps (HOO-ray.), one with many afternoon thunderstorms and coffee, a season with new budding friendships.

This season also includes a new church. And one where we got to visit many churches before landing at said new church. One that saw so many people worshipping unabandoned, arms lifted, tears streaming, that my thoughts about the dwindling of Christianity and the church were changed. One that showed me that there are Christians young and old that are brave enough to step out and be the hands and feet of Jesus in a way that is relevant. As one local beloved pastor says of the church he leads, “ a movement for all people to know the love of Jesus Christ.” ALL PEOPLE. There are huge numbers of people in churches blowing my mind around here. People willing to drop politics, traditions, and to wear sandals and nose rings and leave their fancy at home so that they can be a welcoming presence to someone who has no interest in a traditional church setting- most likely because they’ve been burned. This is the part of the season I am perhaps, most grateful for. Seeing people love with energy and compassion. The passion for sharing Jesus to a generation disenfranchised by the church as we have known her. A movement. I have felt it several times in worship services in different churches.

This season feels like its changing to a new one. Possibly because the season outside is changing (hello, cool breeze in my window!) and possibly because we’re past some of the ‘newness’ of our move to this area of the country. Either way, it has been good & it has been hard.

My encouragement to you is that it is hard to be a person. As the internet would say, ‘Adulting is hard.’ Give your burdens over. Ask, seek, knock. Pursue peace. God can not only handle your anger, tiredness, and frustration, He can change it and pull you into a new season and guide you to be grateful for what you have in this one. He can even show you a glimpse of how He is going to show Himself to the next generation. If nothing else, you have Him. And sometimes He allows hard battles to let us remember to lean in because He is enough. And don’t forget there is, at some point, a season to dance. God knew when he made our little family, that afternoon dance parties would be our saving grace.

Mrs Manlove